The following essay is something I wrote on the night that I found out David Bowie died. Originally posted to Facebook because at the time I didn't have the website.
The first song I ever remember hearing was Space Oddity.
My uncle used to give my dad mix tapes whose cases were decorated in comic and newspaper collage clippings my uncle pasted together. One of the cassette tapes was a collection of David Bowie singles and my dad played it often. I loved it so much that after a while I think I just unofficially inherited it. It was one of my favorite tapes. I used to fall asleep to music, and this tape was usually what was playing in the stereo as I drifted off. Through this tape I was introduced to the sonic worlds of John I’m Only Dancing, Changes, Golden Years and of course Ziggy Stardust, the greatest song ever written.
Those songs stirred my imagination and fascinated me in an important way. Who was the Jean Genie? What are Diamond Dogs? Closing my eyes made me feel like I was floating in space with Major Tom. I’m not sure why this exact image came into my mind when I heard it, but whenever I listened to Let’s Dance, I always pictured skeletons dancing in a graveyard.
From that moment on, David Bowie became a hero of mine, and forever will be. Even though it scared me too much the first time, Labyrinth eventually became one of my favorite movies. When my friends and I made a fake TV Talk Show with a miniDV video camera, I was David Bowie as the musical guest. I lip-synched Ziggy Stardust. In a high school Spanish project, I used the song Fashion as background music. I got points taken off for using a song with English lyrics but I didn’t care because I’d found an excuse to shoehorn such a great song into a school project. I remember my mind getting blown when my dad pointed out to me that Aladdin Sane was actually A Lad Insane.
David Bowie is a patron saint of the weirdos and the outcasts, the freaks and the rebels, the ones who never quite felt like they fit in. He took his weirdness and wore it on his sleeves and turned himself into a living embodiment of eccentric cool. His music spans and sometimes completely defies genre. He’s been a capitalist alien, a vampire, Pontius Pilate, the Goblin King, a walk-off mediator for fashion models, Nikolas Tesla, and now he’s immortal.
My thoughts, prayers, good vibes, et cetera go out to his family and close friends during these next few days.
Goodbye Mr. Bowie, and thank you for all the good dreams.